In Focus: Senate Takes First Step Toward Repealing Affordable Care Act

By Allen Smith, J.D. Jan 12, 2017

Although Congress has not yet specified how it will replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it already is taking steps toward repealing it.

Repeal Is Likelier After Senate's Action

The Senate approved a budget blueprint early on Jan. 12 that would let it repeal the Affordable Care Act without a Democratic filibuster. The vote did not repeal the law, but was a procedural action that set the stage for repeal through a reconciliation bill. Congress may be weeks away from voting on repeal. (The New York Times)

[SHRM members-only toolkit: Complying with and Leveraging the Affordable Care Act]

Democrats Protest Move in Late-Night Session

Senators weren't supposed to give speeches during the session, known as a "vote-a-rama," which occur around budget resolutions. But Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., submitted her vote on behalf of people with pre-existing conditions. And Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., said he voted "no" on behalf of people who can no longer be discriminated against because of the ACA. (NPR)

House Acts Next

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the resolution next, perhaps on Friday, which would prompt congressional committees to draft another bill that would repeal major provisions of the ACA. (CNN)

Experts Predict ACA Repeal-and-Replace Prospects

Capitol Hill watchers had expected that shortly after President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20, Republican leaders would try to pass a measure to repeal the ACA outright. Facing a filibuster for that type of vote, however, Republicans are likely to turn to the budget reconciliation process, in which a simple Senate majority is needed to pass measures related to federal revenues and spending. (SHRM Online)

Trump Seeks Swift Repeal and Replace

Trump called for the swift repeal and replacement of the ACA on Jan. 10. Though some congressional Republicans are seeking to slow down the pace on repeal and replace, Trump wants repeal to happen quickly and a replacement simultaneously or very shortly thereafter. (The New York Times)

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